What a question!
And just how would you answer? Honestly?
Would you need to go and do a count? Does the thought of doing that make you a little nervous?
Because it seems to when we meet with clients and assess their storage needs...even though we're sworn to secrecy regarding what that actual number is.
Still, one of the questions we're asked most frequently is "well - how many pair of shoes do most people have?"
So with that in mind, we know that people love their shoes - and really, really, really want to keep all of their shoes - so we came up with a few tips to help you increase the shelf life of your shoe collection.
You can download it for free -
Yep - that's what came to me as I rolled over late last night in delightful bliss. Happy stomach, happy mouth, happy feet = Happy Thanksgiving!
And I don't see it as a day, by the way. I don't even see it as a season. I see thankfulness and gratitude as an awesome and very grounding way to live each day.
It just so happens that for this girl (and many, many others) one of the things we're very grateful for is our shoes. We love them, we show them off and it's hard to shine without them.
So in addition to moist turkey and flowing chardonnay, I'm thankful for great shoes and a great place to store them.
I'm also really grateful for opportunities with a project called "The Not So Big House". This concept was pioneered by architect Sarah Susanka and is something I've followed for years. So, when Closet Works Designer Jane Van Almen brought this opportunity to the table for considersation, we leapt at it with enthusiasm because it's so in sync with what we do as closet designers.
We believe in maximizing space and making it beautiful and interesting. We love effective design and we appreciate that people need to be able to really live and function in their space.
And that's alot of what Susanka is about.
And you have an opportunity to actually see, first hand, examples of her approach to a "Not So Big House" in Libertyville, Illinois in conjunction with School Street Development.
The house will be open on weekends over the next several months. You can check it out -
Ever had one of those days when your phone is ringing, the TV is blairing, your son is (loudly) listening to music, your daughter is chatting while listening to You Tube, the dog is barking and your husband wants to know what's for dinner - and you just want a moment of peace?
I'm guessing that you have.
So, how do you "get away from it all" without leaving home (or going to your car and locking yourself inside)? There's an answer.
It's called an "Away Room" and it's a concept pioneered by architect Sarah Susanka in her "Not So Big House" book/lecture series.
An "Away Room" is a term Susanka and her team use that refers to the function of this space because it provides a place to escape from everything else going on in your house and it can have several functions. It can be a cozy, slightly more formal space for adults to converse or it can be a quiet space where you can work or read and not be bothered by everything else that's going on.
This space is typically separated (physically and accoustically) from the rest of your house by something like French doors, Pocket doors or by distance from other rooms. It's also smaller in scale.
Scale is an important element. Something that's 11 ft. by 12 ft. or smaller works best. And if you use formal furniture, it will be feel formal. Casual furniture and it will feel cozy. And if you "furnish it with soft, easy chairs, wicker rockers and old family photos, it will offer a more comfortable place for living" according to Susanka.
If you'd like to get a first hand look at a great example of an Away Room - visit Susanka's latest design project (in conjunction with School Street Development in Libertyville, IL) and see and feel what the space is like.
The home is open from November 19, 2011 through May, 2011 on the weekends. You can find more info at:http://www.schoolstreetlibertyville.com/nsb.shtml
Sometimes bigger feels better.
Face it - when you've got a home or office space that has lots of space - you end up having lots of space to put your stuff.
But perhaps your preference is better over bigger? Granted, we all like a bit of elbow room. But we don't just want dull, boring additional square footage. We want the added space to work FOR us and the way we live and we want it to reflect our personal style.
Architect Sarah Susanka has some terrific suggestions and conepts in her series of books - "The Not So Big House".
She believes (and teaches) that "People who are attracted to architecturally designed houses also tend to seek out a higher level of detail. So a good architect will suggest reducing square footage to allow for more detail."
And that makes sense, doesn't it? You're already familiar with this concept when it comes to automobiles. "The quality and detail of a Mercedes, Lexus or Jaguar are far more important than the size of the car. More space does not equal more comfort. In fact, size has nothing to do with the appeal of these cars. If you want nothing but space, you can buy an equally expensive SUV" states Susanka.
And she's not advocating that everyone live in small houses. She's suggesting that "when you build or remodel a house, you evaluate what really makes you feel at home. In other words, concentrate on, and put more of your money toward, what you like rather than settling for sheer size and volume."
And if you'd like to see some great examples of ways to do this, as well as get some ideas to incorporate into your own home, visit Susanka's latest project in conjunction with School Street Development in Libertyville, Illinois. The two have joined forces, along with many other like-minded partners (including Closet Works) to build a model home and neighborhood development called School Street.
We've always understood the value of space.
Using it effectively is one of our most important roles as closet designers.
So, an opportunity to work with a reknowned architect and a local developer on a "Not So Big House" is a project whose vision we see eye-to-eye on.
What's a "Not So Big House"? http://www.notsobighouse.com/
The concept of a "Not So Big House" is one of "combining the beauty of the big house with the effeciency of a small one," accordig to the creator of the concept, architect and author Sarah Susanka.
And it's a concept whose time has arrived!
Rather than spend your budget on square footage that rarely gets used, Susanka encourages people to put money toward making the house an expression of their personalities.
At Closet Works, we've always been interested in how people linve in their space. In the case of their closets, that means determining if they are "folders" or "hangers", or want drawers versus baskets, shallow versus deep. It's intimate space within the intimate space of your home.
The "Not So Big" concept addresses all areas of your home. And that's what we're going to be talking about over the coming weeks - how to make the space you live in do its' best work FOR you - sharing Susanka's thoughts on the best and most beautiful ways to utilize the space that you call home.
So if you'd like to learn more about how to maximize the space in your home, come check out the "Not So Big House" in Libertyville, Illinois in conjuction with School Street Development http://www.schoolstreetlibertyville.com/index.shtml.
We ca't wait to share what we've all come with that will inspire you!
Or better yet - three????
According to Bill Healy of Chicago it can.
And with Bill's closet makeover posted on HGTV http://tinyurl.com/3voffda - the marriage proposals started flowing in. (So you see, the lyrics to the old ZZ Top song - "Every Girls Crazy About A Sharp Dressed Man" ring true).
Bill considers himself "naturally a bit messy so I wanted to create a closet that was highly organized and worked based on how I used things on an every day basis." And you can see from the before shot of his closet that he speaks the truth.
And he feels that the absolute best thing he did in this closet was "put in two hampers behind doors like these (stacked on top of each other. One for whites, one for darks, and no excuses for throwing clothes on the floor any more!!)"
We might even suggest a hamper for the items that need to go to the dry cleaner - as they often end up on the floor or piled behind a door. Having a designated space for them makes things so much more effecient.
And one more thing that made Bill really happy with his closet -
"I always wanted my shirts to look like this!!! These are all work shirts and are not mixed up with my casual shirts which are placed at the back of the closet. I am not a morning person so I was trying to make my morning a little easier by arranging my shirts this way!"
So - what do you think? Wouldn't your shirts look better organized this way? And wouldn't both you be happier if they were?
A recent poll featured on The Nate Berkus Show said that when people were asked which they like more - cleaning their closet or having sex - 31% said they preferred cleaning their closet.
Nate couldn't believe it and commented that these 31% were sharing their intimate moments with the wrong people. Funny or true? Maybe both.
But what we're really talking about here is closets - and the all encompassing benefits of living with a closet that's organized so it works for you and the way you live your life.
Now, for those of you who don't know much about Nate, he's a total lover of closets. In fact, his is designed and organized so that it suits him as well as any of the custom shirts and suits that hang inside it.
He understands how much time and money he saves by having organized closets.
He also understands the positive impact and psychological benefits of having space that's beautifully designed and ordered so he knows what he has and can access it quickly and easily.
So, it's not about having lots and lots of stuff and then needing more places to stash it all.
It's about knowing who you are and what you like and then creating systems that work with those things.
And the solution can be as simple as putting in double hang and shelving, or it can be more elaborate, along the lines of Nate's closet (pictured above) that has been painted a custom color that he loves and includes custom pull-out drawers and angled shoe shelves.
So what do you think? Do you get great satisfaction from having a clean, organized space? Is your closet designed to suit your life and style? And is there balance between your organized life and your intimate life?
Because whether you land in the 31% or the 69%, it's a balanced life that we're all really wanting.
Not all hangers are created equal! And if you're still using wire hangers and keeping your clothing on the ones the drycleaner gives you - then you've got huge room for improvement!
Plastic hangers, wood hangers and "huggable" hangers can all have a place in your closet. Monica Friel from Chaos To Order shares some insights on which ones she prefers for different purposes.
And once you've worked with one of our Closet Works designers on getting your perfect closet designed and installed, we provide you with two complimentary hours of time with one of the Chaos To Order professional organizers so you can make sure all of your garments are organized and hanging on hangers that are "best suited" for them.
It's that time of year when - at least in the midwest - we take the tank tops and shorts out of our primary closet space and bring in the wool jackets and sweaters.
And sometimes we even purchase a few new items to jazz up the ensembles we're a bit tired of.
So what are the big trends for fall 2011?
1. Statement Coats - like these graphic, bold ones from Burberry.
2. Menswear looks on ladies - think suits, pinstripes, belts, even cuffs on pants.
3. Patchwork - like we saw in the 70's (if you can remember back that far). It's not a look I even slightly like or have any intention of adding to my wardrobe.
4. Python - the reptile look is big, big, big. And I really like it, like it, like it!
5. Jewelry. Lots and lots of jewelry. Big. Chunky. Clanky. Shiny.
6. Colored Fur. It doesn't have to be real. We're not trying to make a statement on fur. We're just saying you will see lots of it in all shapes, sizes and, in particular, colors. Could be a purple fur jacket or a turquoise fur purse - you decide what's right for you.
7. Hats - as protective gear and as a fashion statement. You'll see cashmere beanies and glamourous, wide-brimmed wool.
8. Gloves - how appropriate that both hats and gloves are big this fall? Both are taking on the bold colors and designer elements. You'll see anything from polka dots to high contrast, graphic prints.
9. Red - all shads and all things - from pants to tops to purses.
10. Black and White worn together. It might be derived from the "Black/White" store, it might be derived from the first lady, but it's here, there and everywhere. This is from Burberry.
So what are your favorites? What looks will you add to your closet for fall 2011?
Bathrooms are a highly trafficked space in every home.
Not only are they essential, but they are often the permanent storage spot for lots of life's essentials - from soap to shampoo to shaving cream.
So how do you get the most return from what is often a very small space?
Here are some ideas:
1. Borrow Space - look at the walls in your bathroom and see if the space allows for some really narrow shelves or something like a magazine rack that could hold reading materials or towels. When you're looking for ideas - look at options for other rooms in the house - like kitchens or offices - and see if you can't repurpose the item for your own storage solution.
2.Think Portable. Bins with handles make for easy mobility so you can bring what you need into the bathroom and then put it back into another space. This is great for when guests visit or when you group things like mani-pedi items or makeup items together.
3. Don't forget the doors - add hooks on the back side or add an "over the door" towel or hanging device to increase your capacity.
4. Pull Out Drawers can sometimes be added to underneath an existing vanity cabinet, which really increase storage options. If you're thinking of a bathroom renovation, a vanity with doors and drawers is a much better choice long term than a pedestal sink if you need places to store things.
5. Think Tiered storage options - like a cupcake stand - that could hold lots of toiletries that can be easily accessible.